Bartram Trail & First Coast

Are in the works for tonight. It’s going to be a whirlwind weekend. I do plan to put in an appearance at Battle 4 Blake, but how long I will stay is another question. Results from AAU states will be worked on Sunday as well as those for Battle 4 Blake (assuming that I get them, which I should with Zach Fox running the tournament), and I will probably be doing my next 1A team, Palatka, on Sunday as well. It’s just really difficult to find the time at work, as slammed as I’ve been, to write up summaries at work that have some care and thought put into them, and really difficult to sit in front of a computer at home at night when I’ve sat in front of a computer all day. We’re battling through it.

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The Season: Interlachen, 2014-15

(Hopefully) on Thursday: Bartram Trail.


Season record: 7-21 in duals.

Tournament record: 4th at Lee Backyard Bash December 19-20, 8th at 1A-District 5 meet February 28, 25th at 1A-Region 2 meet March 6-7. No state qualifiers.

Season in a nutshell: The Rams struggled the most in getting through duals, though certainly their numbers were better than a year ago, when at times Interlachen only had three wrestlers in the starting lineup. This year, the Rams were actually able to win duals, taking their first three and six of their first 10. January and February was a bit more of a struggle, as Interlachen lost 17 straight before knocking off Terry Parker at season’s end. The Rams did fare somewhat better in tournament-style events, where the strength of their individual firepower could be brought to bear a little more effectively. If Interlachen can keep continuing to build up numbers, it can only help things improve in the future.

2014-15 MVP: Considering the bracket he had to fight through in the post-season (state champion at districts, plus two additional state placers that were in the same region), I am pretty comfortable with naming sophomore Brennan Wykoff as the Rams’ MVP for 2015-16. Wykoff had the team’s highest district finish, taking second at 152. He had a fall in the semis and only lost to Clay’s Adam Breindel in the final. At regions, Wykoff didn’t have a great start, losing a match that he might have been favored to win in the first round, but he rallied to get to Saturday — something only one other Interlachen teammate managed to do — by beating a district champion. He had solid results in other tournaments during the regular season, and I think he should only get better with two more years left in his career.

Returning starters for 2015-16: Christian Hamilton (sophomore in 15-16, I had him at 4-22 at 113), Cade Mason (sophomore in 15-16, Track had him at 9-22, I had him at 13-21 at 126), Wykoff (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 19-11, I had him at 22-14 at 152), Lance Hasting (senior in 15-16, Track had him at 28-8, I had him at 27-8 at 170/82), Logan Hasting (senior in 15-16, Track and I had him at 23-17 at 170/82), Jesse Brown (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 6-18, I had him at 8-17 at 195), Harrison Meyer (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 6-9, I had him at 8-7 at 220). Rams also have potential returners in Kolby Foshee (sophomore in 15-16, went 4-4 at 132 as starter early in season), Gabriel Denney (junior in 15-16, went 4-8 as part-time starter at 220) and Cody Smith (junior in 15-16, went 4-3 as part-time starter at 285).

2015-16 captain: I mentioned in the earlier paragraph that one other Interlachen wrestler besides Wykoff made it to Saturday at regions. Logan Hasting wrestled most of the season at 170, and it just seemed to me that his matchups were probably the toughest that the Rams went up against during the course of the season. Very tough resume of competitors (Avery Samples, Sam Hernandez, Glaston McKenzie, Rafeal Leon, Ty Merry, Rodney Padgett, John Perrone, Nathan Cleland, Ty Merry, Kahtrell Treadwell, Jon Whiting) that really made things tough for Hasting during the season. But, I feel, this kind of schedule is going to put Hasting in position to make a very competitive run for states next year. He’s hard-nosed (as is his brother Lance, who had the better record between the two) and I like that. They’ll be a good pair to build around in 2015-16.

Heaton’s Hero: Part of my rule for this award is that you have to wrestle the post-season. That’s part of the deal. You’ve got to wrestle the whole season, face an uphill battle most of the time, and rather than stop or quit, you go all the way into late February…still practicing…still competing. For that, I will take freshman Cade Mason as Interlachen’s representative of the Heaton’s Hero. There were certainly stretches where Mason struggled, but he stayed in the lineup the whole season. Check out his first match at districts — Mason lost 17-16!! How fun would that match have been? Probably not so fun for his coach, or his parents, but it would certainly have been fun to watch. That match is exactly what I look for — an unwillingness to go down easily.


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More Deets To The Offseason Page

We’re adding camp info there, too. If there’s a flyer to be hand, I’ll write a separate blog and post it. And then add it to the Offseason page. I have Creekside’s camp up, plus the Carolina and Bonofide camps planned for June/early July. These are what I know about. I’d prefer to keep the camps be within the Matmen coverage area, which is still pretty damged sizable, as I’ve learned.

The Season update: Interlachen still planned for (more likely) tonight. Bartram Trail Thursday. First Coast Friday.

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River City

Got to check out River City’s operation last night and, in the process, visit one of the coolest pieces of space in Jacksonville, Episcopal’s campus. There were kids from ESJ, First Coast, Bishop Kenny and Nease while I was there, and that was just what I happened to see in a half-hour. Guys (and girls), if you’re not wrestling right now, your competition is getting better than you — whether it’s at Clay, at Hoggetowne, at Palm Coast, at Richardson Middle, at Middleburg or at Yulee — it is leaving you behind, and I guarantee you other parts of the state are already going all out with an eye to next year. Winter Springs posts exactly how many offseason matches every one of their kids is getting, every time it goes somewhere — even their seniors, who really don’t have any skin in the game any longer. It’s time to treat this as a 12-month-a-year gig, and places like River City are the perfect place to start, particularly inside Jacksonville. There were little kids there, but these kids had moves. There were high schoolers working with Navy guys. This is what we need more of in Jacksonville. This is what makes wrestling better. The teams in the outer areas have established programs for a reason — because they work at this 12 months a year. There is no reason, in my mind, why Jacksonville can’t aspire to do the same. We are starting to see it.

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The Season: Buchholz, 14-15

(Hopefully) on Wednesday: Interlachen.


Season record: 17-5 in duals..

Tournament record: 4th at Westside Kiwanis December 12-13, 23rd at Lyman Invitational December 19-20, 10th at Palm Coast Rotary January 9-10, 7th at George Jenkins IBT 1/30-31, T-34th at Girls’ State Meet February 6-7, 10th at Green Cove Springs Rotary February 13-14, 3rd at 3A-District 1 meet February 28, 13th at 3A-Region 1 meet March 6-7, T-30th at 3A state meet March 13-14.

Season in a nutshell: With a lot of seniors in this year’s group, this was the Bobcats’ chance to make a push into north Florida’s elite, and Buchholz did find itself ranked all season long. Buchholz was one of the main reasons I wanted to expand coverage in 2014-15, mainly because they worked with us right from day 1. This is a team — the three Gainesville-city schools really are of a piece on this — with a coaching staff committed to its kids and wanting to make wrestling bigger in the city of Gainesville. Next year may be a little harder for the Bobcats, because the group’s going to be a lot younger. But we’re still going to be around to follow them. I thought we might see more than just one state qualifier this year, but it’s entirely possible — even with the youth coming back — that there’ll be another one in 2015-16.

2014-15 MVP: Pretty easy choice. We all knew that senior 152 Myckel Hutchinson was going to be really good this season. After all, he’d won districts last year and was one match from states, and he was staying in the same weight class, so we certainly were projecting him to get to The Show this year. Predictably, he started the year at 160, and beat several good 160s (Helsel, Neubeck, Langdo, Folkner, Berry, Treadwell), hung in against Martorano and Camden phehom Bunmi Smith. And then he dropped down and announced that not only would he be a strong local presence, he’d be a strong state presence as well, beating Winter Springs’ Max Wohlabaugh twice. 152 proved to be a brutally tough weight for our area kids in 3A, with two region placewinners earning state hardware and a third just one match outside of state. But after dropping a 10-5 semifinal loss to Osceola, Hutchinson refused to settle for a fifth-place finish, taking a solid consi semi win over a kid with 63 wins at the time. He then saw Wohlabaugh for the fourth time in the season, and just couldn’t ride him out in the ultimate tiebreaker. That’s against a defending state champ, folks. That’s an MVP-level of wrestling.

Returning starters for 2015-16: Andrique Broughton (junior in 15-16, Track and I had him at 25-21 at 113), Gant Moore (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 38-17, I had him at 37-17 in 15-16 at 120), Tommy Howell (senior in 15-16, I had him at 33-11 at 126, did not compete in post-season due to a family commitment), Erik Kverneland (senior in 15-16, Track had him at 28-19, I had him at 26-20 at 160), Gerald Rushing (senior in 15-16, Track and I both had him at 14-20 at 170, Dylan Lewis (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 16-23, I had him at 12-21 at 182), Aaron Menden (sophomore in 15-16, Track had him at 1-12, I had him at 1-13 at 195), Jose Romero (junior in 15-16, Track had him at 16-20, I had him at 12-21 at 220). The Bobcats also had part-time starters Trakiyqn Thompson (junior in 15-16, I had him at 4-6 at 195) and Armani Silva (junior in 15-16, I had him at 4-5 at 285, where he started the year as the starter). Khaunee Sullivan (junior in 15-16, I had him at 6-6 at 152) also saw quite a bit of time in the lineup.

2015-16 captain: Ill-timed (from the team’s standpoint) family commitment aside last season, Howell is a reasonable choice, as the top returning senior, as captain pick. It’s actually possible he might not have gotten out of districts, but he probably would have been seeded to do so. Would have been a great first-round match down at Palm Coast between him and Mandarin’s Tanner Brown, who wound up placing fourth and moving on to regions. Howell had some good matches during the year, and made a ton of strides from his sophomore to junior seasons, but he’ll have to find ways to win matches he’s not expected to win if he wants to get to Kissimmee for his final campaign. I believe he can find a way to get it done. Junior Gant Moore has the strongest resume and he’s wrestling off-season; he’d be another solid pick.

Heaton’s Hero: Had Buchholz been an area team a year ago, this year’s winner would have been last year’s winner as well. The strides he made from a year just about would have taken him out of consideration for the honor, but what kept him in it was staying up a weight over his lowest competing weight, in order to help the team fill out its lineup. I appreciate that in a kid that’s willing to “take one for the team,” so to speak. And while the move up didn’t exactly do him tons of favors, he did have several more wins than a year ago (as noted above, there’s a little bit of difference between what I had and what Track had for him). And I think he’ll be even better next year. Because he stuck it out for the whole season and wrestled most of it at least one weight up at a tough place to move up (it’s a lot of strength to go from 170 to 182), I am listing junior Dylan Lewis as the Buchholz winner of the Heaton’s Hero mention for 2014-15.


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Palm Coast Bringing The Venue

All you have to do is get there. Tournaments are scheduled for May 1st and May 15th, the May 15th event is free if you pay fees for the May 1st event. Would that more local teams set up events!

I do owe a Buchholz post today. That’s also forthcoming. Maybe today, tonight at latest.

FPC AAU Tournament 050115

FPC AAU Tournament 051515

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The Season: Columbia, 2014-15

Coming Saturday: Buchholz.


Season record: 12-15 in duals.

Tournament record: 12th at Border Wars December 5-6, 8th at Capital City Classic December 12-13, 4th at Billy Saylor Invitational January 9-10, 8th at Tallahassee Lincoln Invitational January 31, 3rd at 2A-District 2 meet February 27, 10th at 2A-Region 1 meet March 6-7, 24th at 2A state meet March 13-14.

Season in a nutshell: Ah, what might have been for the Tigers. I was looking hard at Columbia as a top-five team this year and maybe the best local 2A team, based on what it had projected to come back for this season. However, the best-laid plans of coaches and website operators oft go astray, and a couple of kids didn’t come out, a couple of other kids stopped partway through the season for various and sundry reasons, a couple of others experienced injuries and weight control issues and the result was….ah, what might have been. Still, Columbia had two state placewinners and there’s still quite a bit left in the cupboard, even given that those two placewinners graduate later this spring.

2014-15 MVP: This one is another pretty easy choice, as Kaleb Warner — a two-time state placer and Division I signee — was the Tigers’ on- and off-the-mat team leader in 2014-15. Warner was my solid choice for area #1 when he was competing at 138, and only a brutal field that he moved into for the post-season, when he jumped up to 145, shuffled him back in the pack a couple of spots. Of his five losses that I have, two were to state champions (2A 145’s Adam Lewis in the state semis and 3A 138’s Connor Prince of Palm Harbor), one to a placewinner (2A 138’s Andrew Smith of Springstead) and one to a qualifier (1A 145’s Ethan Ahrens). Looking forward to seeing how his college career will work itself out.

Returning starters for 2015-16: Chace Curtis (sophomore in 15-16, Trackwrestling had him at 25-2, I had him at 24-2 at 106); Robert Lynch (junior in 15-16, Track had at 33-26, I had him at 31-23 at 113/20); Samuel Aymond (sophomore in 15-16, Track had at 20-11, I had him at 19-11 at 120); Zach Williams (sophomore in 15-16, Track had at 10-21, I had him at 7-21 at 126); Matt Raulerson (sophomore in 15-16, Track had him at 17-17, I had him at 11-17 at 126/132); Josh Lynch (junior in 15-16, Track had at 35-18, I had him at 32-18 at 126/132); Brandon Wine (junior in 15-16, Track and I both had him at 20-24 at 138/145); Zion James (sophomore in 15-16, Track had at 16-40, I had at 13-42 at 160/170); Christian Thompson (junior in 15-16, Track had at 7-11, I had at 7-9 at 195); Marcus Zeighler (senior in 15-16, Track had at 39-15, I had him at 38-15 at 285). A full season for Austin Chapman (senior in 15-16, Track had at 9-8, I had him at 9-7 at 152), who did compete at the Junior Nationals event in Virginia Beach last month, would be helpful for the Tigers as well.

2015-16 captain: Marcus Zeighler has proven over the past two seasons that he can hang in with just about every capable heavyweight in north Florida. This next year, he’ll want to take another step and try to move past some more of them. He was in the rankings mix all season, and has one of the wider-ranging resumes coming back. He’s my pick for 2015-16 team captain based upon that resume and his experience. I think there’s still a bright future there for the Tigers, assuming that all of the lighter weights slot themselves into different spots and they find some more help up top.

Heaton’s Hero: Last year, Christian Thompson was one of the inspirations for this award and me wanting to give it out to one wrestler on every team this year. Thompson qualified out of districts after not winning a regular-season match other than by forfeit (I believe, I’m trying to go off a work-frazzled memory at this juncture). Thompson missed part of the season this year, making him somewhat ineligible as a two-time winner, but Columbia won’t be under-represented as a result. The Tigers ranged far and wide to find competition this year, and that can wreak some havoc on youngsters’ records. It actually takes some real gumption to put together a season with 40 losses, and the season that Zion James had is more than just those losses. Not a lot of freshmen get 55 varsity matches in a season and he’ll be a better wrestler for it. Look at the list of kids he wrestled, he actually had a really competitive slate of opponents. For the season he had, Zion James gets the nomination as the Tigers’ Heaton’s Hero nomination.


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